El Paso

Only on ABC-7: Inside the seduction of Tango

ABC-7 Special Report: The Tango

EL PASO, Texas - She leans forward to buckle the straps on her silver-colored heels, the music of string instruments echoing throughout the ballroom.

As she finishes, she gets up and begins to saunter across the dance floor, always looking at her partner.

She slowly comes to a complete stop as she gets near him, leaving some space. Both gazing straight into each other's eyes, he never breaks eye-contact as he takes the last few steps towards her, closing the gap between them.

They slowly embrace. Every touch, every glance deliberate. Every move precise.

All to make that connection on the dance floor look effortless, sensual, and inviting. 

The two are Hilario and Cynthia Gamez, instructors at Sunland Dance Studio in west El Paso. 

They are teaching a tango dancing lesson, which I recently got the chance to attend.

"We're trying to feel what the other person is feeling", says Cynthia Gamez. "You're connecting to the person, the floor, the music, the surroundings, and the rest of the world goes away".

She and Hilario have been dancing for 12 years, but feel that every song is a new opportunity to connect.

In a world dominated by social media, Gamez says we don't really connect to each other anymore. She says tango is one opportunity where we can be one with somebody else, even if that someone is a stranger. 

Tango was born in the alleys of Argentina, and in the early 1900s, Europe caught the tango craze.

The Vatican didn't like people tangoing - and described the dance as barbaric, evil and corrupting the soul. The Archbishop of Lyons France actually issued a decree, saying the tango was profoundly dangerous to morals.

After seeing the dance, Pope Pius X made fun of the trend, and the papal ban was lifted. It has since evolved into an elegant dance marked by elongated moves and abrupt pauses.

 

Back in the dance studio, it's my turn to learn a few steps from the dance once labeled "immoral". 

Ubaldo, my instructor, leads me across the floor. But I couldn't hold the tango face. He's teaching me the "ocho", one of the many complex moves of tango.

Sunland Dance Studio is one of several in the borderland hoping you'll want to learn how to tango, too.

Despite some tricky moves, Instructor Gamez says anybody can tango. "It's really walking together and connecting with the person that you're with, sharing a magical moment with them," says Gamez.

She adds, "our community is ripe for tango."

A world renown tango legend will be in El Paso this month.  Jorge Torres will be holding tango workshops Oct. 7-9. 

Torres has studied the art of Argentine Tango from dancers and teachers of great stature, including as Norberto Guichenduc, Rodolfo Dinzel, Pepito Avellaneda, and Antonio Todaro. 

To learn more about the event, click here.

Another event that always incorporates tango is Big Brothers Big Sisters "Dance for Kids Sake". This year's event features ABC-7's Evan Folan and Josie Ortegon.

The event is October 15th. Learn more about it by clicking here.

And of course, "Dancing With the Stars" airs Mondays and Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. on ABC-7.


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